Poor Fedor. All he wants to do is fight some weird, mostly meaningless bout on New Year’s Eve every year. But all these damn contracts keep getting in the way. It’s almost as if people want the world’s top-ranked heavyweight to only fight top-ranked contenders. Fascists.
Affliction VP Tom Atencio told me yesterday that he has good reason to believe that all the talk about Fedor fighting in Japan this NYE is just idle chatter. Said Atencio:
He is not going to [fight on New Year's Eve]. We have a contract with Fedor. We have a great relationship with Fedor. I just spoke with the guys from M-1 Global and they assured me that he’s not fighting so wherever that came from is beyond me. There are a lot of rumors in this industry and a lot of speculation, but I was told through the partnership that we have that Fedor is definitely not fighting on New Year’s Eve.
Where it came from, obviously, was Fedor’s comments at Dream.6. But Atencio seems certain that the next time “The Russian Last Emperor” gets in the ring, it will be under the Affliction banner. As for when that might be, the details there are a little hazier.
“Our next show is in January — and we’re not even confirmed for January, so right now we’re looking at the first quarter of 2009 — and that’s going to be with Golden Boy.”
However, just a few minutes later I spoke with Affliction COO Michael Cohen, who had this to say:
“Right now we’re concentrating on the Oct. 4 event. There is no definitive agreement currently in place for other events. We are scheduled for a Jan. 24 event, but that event is not currently associated with CBS or EliteXC.
So what gives? Do the varying Affliction executives even speak to each other, or is Atencio just playing it closer to the vest in the hopes of avoiding another anti-Affliction show from the UFC? Not that he wouldn’t be wise to do so, but the problem with keeping that information from the UFC is it means you also have to keep it from the ticket-buying public, and that’s not such a good strategy.
Regardless, it sounds like Affliction is very open to working with Elite XC again if all goes well on Oct. 4. Asked if it might be possible to see Affliction fighters take on Elite XC fighters in the future (Kimbo vs. Fedor/Arlovski/Barnett/Nelson/anyone, perhaps?) he replied: “Eventually, yeah. Hopefully. That’s exactly what we’re working towards.”
Now that could get interesting.